Thursday, January 22, 2009

Close your eyes and pretend you can't see death

At 1 a.m. I was woken up by sirens. Small red lights in my room started blinking. I called the front desk and was told that nothing was going on. Two days later, as a friend and I were getting into a taxi to go to a museum, the siren goes off again. We are just leaving the campus of Hebrew University. We ask about the siren. We are told that it is just a "test."

This was my experience in Israel. Where Isreali colleagues constantly told me it would be safe, that the rockets from Gaza justified retaliation. Some people were hateful. Others mournful.

The denial screamed in my ears. I woke up the last night from bad dream, so anxious I had to call home to Houston. The next morning it was all calmness. I went to the airport and without incident checked in my luggage and got my boarding pass.

The fact that the Israeli security person asked me where my grandparents were from did not rile me. I knew it was the worst form of ethnic profiling, but then, the country is afraid.

When there is death all around, some people think its better to keep your eyes closed, and only open them to see the enemy somewhere else.


In Israel, detachment from reality is now the norm

All these years on from Sabra and Chatila, has anything changed?
by Patrick Cockburn
London Independent

Thursday, 22 January 2009

..Israeli society was always introverted but these days it reminds me more than ever of the Unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s or the Lebanese Christians in the 1970s. Like Israel, both were communities with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate...

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